Dear fellow Brothers and Sisters,
Tomorrow, according to the Armenian Church Calendar, is the remembrance of the Prophet Jonah, whose life’s odyssey is an everlasting topic of discussion between those who accept the story literally and those who classify it as a myth.
My intention is not to discuss its validity at all, for it is beyond the limit of a reflection, but rather to focus on an aspect which is relevant to all generations.
Jonah, after fulfilling his mission as instructed by the Almighty Lord, went out of the city of Nineveh, and made a booth in which he sat. Upon the order of the Almighty, a bush sprang up and gave shade over Jonah’s head, to save him from his discomfort. But the following day, the bush withered, and the sun once again beat down on Jonah’s. He fainted and asked that he might die. But God said to him, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not plant; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons?” (Jonah 4.4-11).
The dialogue between Almighty God and human beings, from Adam and Eve to Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc., is very common in the Old Testament. This passage reflects one of the most striking differences between the outlook of the Selfless One who is concerned for all, the Creator, the Heavenly Father on the one hand, and the self-centered person on the other hand. This is indeed a monumental example what God had said through His Prophet Isaiah, that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Is 55.8-9).
How pitiful are we, the carriers of the Divine Image, in pursuing limited things while our Heavenly Father has prepared and promised everlasting good things for us all. While we chase perishable things, we lose the imperishable things. This simple and short book in the Old Testament invites us all, regardless of faith, color, and gender, to fill the book of our own lives with good thoughts and deeds for our own eternal welfare.
While I was reading this precious dialogue between the Lord and His servant Jonah, I received an email informing me that the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention is shocked and horrified that during an interview between the British Broadcast Corporation’s (BBC) “HARDtalk” anchor Stephen Sackur and Artsakh State Minister Ruben Vardanyan (aired on January 23, 2023), the news anchor offered genocide as one of two “realistic options” facing Armenians in Artsakh.
Referring to the blockade of Artsakh by the dictatorial regime of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Sackur asked Vardanyan: “You now control a tiny enclave which is suffering from the economic blockade right now, and it seems your only realistic option is either to work out a political deal with Azerbaijan or for the people, the Armenian community in Nagorno-Karabakh, to decide that this is no longer sustainable and leave the territory. So, which is it to be – a political deal or leave?”
It seems that the entire mechanism of the BBC, once known for its reputation of impartiality and being the herald of Truth worldwide, is nowadays running on Baku Oil.
The Almighty and Compassionate God’s message, as it was yesterday to Jonah, is the same today: “Should I not be concerned about Artsakh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons…?”
“He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt 7.13-14).